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Suspect In Attack On Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Detained

Omurbek Tekebaev said that the attack was linked to his political activities and called it "political terror."
Omurbek Tekebaev said that the attack was linked to his political activities and called it "political terror."

BISHKEK -- A man suspected of being among several attackers of the leader of Kyrgyzstan's opposition Ata-Meken (Homeland) political party, Omurbek Tekebaev, has been detained in the capital, Bishkek.

The Bishkek city police department said on December 2 that the suspect, whose identity was not disclosed, had been arrested overnight and placed in a detention center.

According to the statement, the suspect had returned a mobile phone belonging to Tekebaev that attackers took from the politician during the assault.

Tekebaev was attacked in a restaurant in Bishkek on December 1 as members of his party, along with hundreds of other opposition politicians, rallied in front of the Central Election Commission (BShK) to protest against the preliminary results of the parliamentary elections held on November 28 and express concerns of ballot-counting irregularities.

Tekebaev said that the attack was linked to his political activities and called it "political terror."

President Sadyr Japarov publicly ordered Interior Ministry to thoroughly investigate the attack, while opposition politicians and activists rallied in front of the State Committee for National Security, demanding justice.

Lawmaker Natalya Nikitenko of the Ata-Meken party said in parliament on December 2 that the attack on Tekebaev was "a political order," and called on law enforcement officials to present a detailed and thorough report on how the investigations are being conducted.

Former President Roza Otunbaeva told RFE/RL in an interview on December 2 that she believes the attack against Tekebaev was politically motivated, as it took place while party members and other opposition activists and politicians were protesting against the elections.

The attack added to the ongoing tension over the parliamentary elections, the official results of which have yet to be announced.

Controversy erupted over a glitch during the counting that caused a tabulation monitor at the BShK to suddenly show that several opposition parties had mysteriously fallen below the 5 percent barrier needed to gain entrance to parliament.

BShK Chairwoman Nurjan Shaildabekova has insisted that there was no reason to doubt the election results.

According to her, the final official results will be announced after all data obtained by a full hand count of the ballots that finished on December 1 are added to the electronic system.

The November 28 elections were a repeat of a failed parliamentary vote held in October 2020 that was quickly annulled by the BShK amid chaotic protests over alleged campaign violations and unfair voting practices.

According to preliminary results announced by the BShK on November 30, three pro-government parties -- Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) Kyrgyzstan, Yntymak (Harmony), and Ishenim (Trust) -- the opposition Butun (United) Kyrgyzstan, as well as three parties affiliated neither with the government nor the opposition -- Yiman Nuru (Ray of the Faith), Alyans (Alliance), and El Umutu (People's Hope) -- managed to pass the 5 percent threshold to get seats in the parliament.

Ata-Meken, Azattyk (Liberty), the Social Democrats, and Uluttar Birimdigi (Union of Ethnicities), all of whom have cried foul, failed to pass the barrier to get into the legislature.

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